Tens of millions of people have alreadyfor . If yours hasn’t arrived yet, don’t panic: Millions more of are on the way, including those for and in the next week. (Find out , and .) But in certain cases, if your third check doesn’t make it to you, you may need to take an extra step to track it down through the IRS. And there are a couple of different ways to do it, depending on your situation.
never received their , or had . Now that it’s tax season, most of those people will need to file for that missing money on their tax return, as a (even ). But some will need to contact the IRS directly and request something called a Payment Trace to track down your money. So how do you know what you need to do? We’ll help you figure it out. (We’ve also got information on . And you can use our stimulus calculators to estimate the amount of money you should have received in and .)
We’ll explain everything you need to know about an IRS Payment Trace, including the two cases in which you may need to request one for any of your missing checks, and how to get started. We’ve also got stimulus payment guides for, , and . Plus, here’s what we’re hearing so far about a potential , and the . This story was recently updated.
Payment Trace scenario 1: The IRS Get My Payment tool says the agency sent out your check, but it never arrived
The IRS is still Get My Payment. We have full instructions on and the different messages you might see here. You’ll need to plug in your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code., so there’s a good chance that if you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s still on the way. You can using the free IRS tracking tool, called
The portal will show your payment status, if your money has been scheduled to send, and the payment method (or by mail) and date. You might also see a different message or an error. (Here’s through the USPS.)
You’ll need to request a Payment Trace if the Get May Payment portal shows that your payment was issued, but you haven’t received it within the following time frames.
When to request an IRS Payment Trace
|Method of payment||Time passed since IRS says it sent your payment|
|Direct deposit||5 days|
|Check mailed to standard address||4 weeks|
|Check mailed to a forwarded address||6 weeks|
|Check mailed to a foreign address||9 weeks|
This timeline was the same for the view or create your online account with the IRS. To do that, you’ll need to provide your full name, email, birthdate, Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number, tax filing status and current address. (We’ve got instructions on .)as well. If your first or second stimulus checks were missing, you can no longer use the Get My Payment tool to track them down. Instead, you’ll need to
We are several months past the deadline for the second check to arrive by, or by , including for . If your account shows that your payment was issued but you did not receive it, you’ll need to request a Payment Trace.
Payment Trace scenario 2: You got a letter from the IRS confirming your payment was sent, but you never got a check
About 15 days after the IRS sends your third stimulus check (by either, or ), you should get confirming your payment and giving you a way to get in touch to report any problems. If you received this letter — also called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment — but you never received your payment, you’ll need to request a Payment Trace. Make sure you keep the letter — you’ll need the information to file your claim. (Here’s what to do if you .) The same is true for the first and second checks as well.
How to request a Payment Trace from the IRS to claim missing stimulus money
To request a Payment Trace, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. (Note that if you call the number, you’ll have to listen through the recorded content before you can connect with an agent.)
To complete Form 3911 for your third stimulus check, the IRS provides the following instructions:
- Write “EIP3” on the top of the form (EIP stands for Economic Impact Payment)
- Complete the form answering all refund questions as they relate to your payment
- When completing item 7 under Section 1:
- Check the box for “Individual” as the Type of return.
- Enter “2021” as the Tax Period.
- Do not write anything for the Date Filed.
- Sign the form. If you’re married and filing together, both spouses must sign the form.
You should not mail Form 3911 if you’ve already requested a trace by phone. And you should not request a Payment Trace to determine if you were, or to , the IRS said.
How does the IRS process Payment Trace claims?
The IRS will do the following to process your claim, according to its website:
- If you didn’t cash the check, the IRS will issue a replacement. If you discover the original check among your belongings, you’re expected to return it as soon as possible.
- If you did cash the refund check, expect a claim package from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which will include a copy of the cashed check. Then, follow the included instructions. The bureau will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before deciding if it will issue a replacement. This is presumably to guard against .
When should you expect to receive your missing stimulus money after filing a Payment Trace?
You should get a response from the IRS about six weeks after the agency receives your request for a Payment Trace, according to its website. However, this could be delayed due to limited staffing. We’ve reached out to the IRS for more information.
For more on stimulus checks, here’sand that should help you financially.